Maria Sharapova stepped up her comeback after injury to claim the scalp of 11th seed Nadia Pedrova to reach the third round of the French Open in Paris on Wednesday.
The former world number one had come into the second grand slam of the season with only two matches in a minor tournament in Poland under her belt, but surprised fellow Russian with a 6-2 1-6 8-6 victory. Still playing with tape on her troublesome right shoulder, Sharapova showed no ill effects as she won five straight games to take the first set. Petrova hit back in style to force a decider and took the lead with an early break. But Sharapova hit back in the eighth game to level and held her own service under pressure in the next two games. Petrova finally wilted as she served at 6-7, giving Sharapova match point with a double fault and then hitting wide on a forehand after two hours 12 minutes. Sharapova will now face qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan for a place in the last 16. She had shoulder surgery in August last year and missed both the U.S. Open and Australian Open as fears for her future in the game grew. She made a brief comeback by playing doubles in Miami in March before a return to singles action at the Warsaw Open where she reached the quarterfinals before losing to Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine.
Sharapova crashes out in Warsaw
Serena loses top ranking to Safina
Official French Open Web site
Meanwhile, defending champion Ana Ivanovic showed a welcome return to form by sweeping into the last 32 with a 6-1 6-2 victory over Thailand’s Tamarine Tanasugarn. The 21-year-old Serbian has slipped down the world rankings since lifting the title at the Stade Roland Garros, but is making a strong defense on her favored clay. World number one Dinara Safina also impressed with a 6-1 6-1 win over fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko. She has dropped just two games in reaching the third round as she bids to back up her ranking with a first grand slam title.